She Said You Re Not Ikari Rei

[13:35] <Ayanami‘Rei> [The lights in the tunnel flitted by, visible in the window as long, bright strips breaking up the dull concrete. It made the entire tunnel look strange, as though an orange filter were placed over it.-
[13:36] * Ayanami`Rei sat in her seat, her right hand at her side, her left resting on her seatbelt. She watched the window, the lights…-
[14:07] <Ayanami`Rei> [The car was silent. Yui drove, her eyes carefully focused on the road ahead. It was Christmas Eve… The 24th of December. Everything had gone as planned for Yui- her precious Rei was back, the happiest christmas for her and Shinji and Gendo…-
[14:08] <Ayanami`Rei> [… Except not. Shinji’s reaction… Had not been one of joy. Yui felt… Shamed. Traumatised at what had happened. She found that she was driving overly cautiously, almost fearfully. "Rei?"-
[14:08] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Yes?"
[14:08] <Ayanami`Rei> ["We’re nearly home, sweetheart."-
[14:08] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded once, and continued to stare out at the tunnel.
[14:13] <Ayanami`Rei> A silent journey. Even the world seemed to be quiet. There were fewer cars on the road… A rustling, light breeze. Eventually, Rei’s gaze fell upon a house- a familiar house. Home.-
[14:36] <Ayanami‘Rei> [The car slowed, and finally stopped in the drive way. Yui stepped out, opened Rei’s door. "We're home."
[14:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" Rei unbuckled the seatbelt, stretched out her legs. Her shoes touched the concrete of the driveway. "Home…" She left the car, looking up at the house.
[14:41] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Let’s go." Said Yui hopefully, taking Rei's hand and leading her inside.-
[14:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> The house was just like how Rei remembered. It was safe. It was warm. Her eyes stared at familiar photographs- mother, father, brother, herself. She turned back to Yui. "My room hasn’t changed…?"-
[14:43] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Yui imagined she heard a tone of hope in that question. "Of course not, sweetheart. It’s just like you left it."-
[14:43] <Ayanami‘Rei> Rei nodded, and headed to her room.-
[14:51] <Ayanami`Rei> [It was as she remembered. Light blue walls, one of them having been converted into a sort of mural; sunny skies and clouds had been painted onto it. A window, looking out to the east, so she’d catch the sun in the morning… Her wardrobe, against one wall, no doubt filled with her clothes; a chest of drawers with a little mirror on top, that she'd mostly used for her toys. A bookcase.]
[15:10] * Ayanami‘Rei walked over to the corner of her room, where her futon sat, wrapped up. Her footsteps made no noise.-
[15:11] <Ayanami`Rei> She grabbed an end, unfolded it quietly. Sat down on it, laid down and stared at the roof.
[15:18] <Ayanami`Rei> The futon was too small…
[15:18] <Ayanami`Rei> I’ve grown. Thought Rei to herself, slowly pulling herself back to her feet. She looked around the room, over towards the wardrobe. Her old clothes…
[15:24] * Ayanami‘Rei opened the wardrobe. Took out a bright yellow shirt. She stared at it. This was the shirt she liked to wear on weekends, when she and father would go to the park, or see a movie, or sometimes even her brother would go…
[15:30] <Ayanami`Rei> She placed it on the futon, ruffled through her chest of draws. Took out a white skirt. Yellow shirt, white skirt… Placed it back on the futon. She shrugged off the plain blue dress she was wearing, which fell to the floor… She picked it up with a frown, placed it on the futon.
[15:31] <Ayanami`Rei> "…" Her old clothes… I’ve grown, that's right. Thought Rei to herself. They weren't big enough anymore. A strange feeling flowed through her that she had trouble identifying.
[15:37] * Ayanami‘Rei picked up the blue dress again. She looked over at the mirror…
[15:37] <Ayanami`Rei> Blue hair. Not brown like it used to be. Red eyes; gone were the green ones. ’Your mother's eyes', father used to say.
[15:38] <Ayanami‘Rei> Her face looked different, it was more… Mature? She recognised it. It looked familiar, but but strange… Like a distorted photograph taken at a haunted house at a fete. Pale skin… So pale!
[15:42] <Ayanami`Rei> Was this really her face? Her body? It felt strange. NERV had spent millions of dollars in ensuring that the MP-Pilots would be able to use their bodies effectively; that their inexperience wouldn’t result in poor coordination or the like. Years of -growing- into a new body requires years of learning how that body worked. That Rei Ayanami could, say, walk perfectly, or execute a flying kick that broke ribs with perfect accuracy was a -feat- of NERV science.
[15:44] <Ayanami‘Rei> The body itself was a feat of NERV biology as well. It was a body many would kill to have- at the peak of fitness- or even at the peak of -human- potential. A slender, flexible frame, strong arms and legs built for speed and strength.
[15:44] <Ayanami`Rei> … But the psychological aspect had been, by contrast, neglected.-
[15:46] * Ayanami`Rei slowly slipped the dress on again. "I’ve… Grown." She said quietly.
[15:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> She opened her top drawer. Within were… Toys. Evangelion figurines, a resin model… She took two figurines out. 01 and 04. Placed them on the chest.
[15:53] <Ayanami`Rei> The 04 one was her favourite, because it was the strongest. She picked it up, pressed a little button on its back, which caused the vertebrae port at the back to open with a click. She turned it upside down, shook out the entry plug. Popped it open. A very tiny little Zhang Yanmei fell out. She did the same for 01.
[15:57] <Ayanami`Rei> "Sera…" She stared at the little de Pteres. She remembered kicking him, the feeling of a rib breaking beneath her feet. Why…?
[15:58] <Ayanami`Rei> It was confusing. She didn’t think he hated her. He seemed like a strange but nice person. She remembered that knife… He didn't look like he was playing around.
[16:00] * Ayanami‘Rei carefully replaced the pilots, slid the Entry Plugs back into the Evangelions. Tucked them away. There was a photograph in a frame on the chest, too…-
[16:01] <Ayanami`Rei> A little girl- herself, she recognised- on the shoulders of a cute boy with fluffy blonde hair, embracing a girl with vivid purple hair and a surprised expression. She picked the photograph up, stared.
[16:09] <Ayanami`Rei> "Zaizai." Isaiah. He had been her best friend during the trip to France. Even though they didn’t understand what the other was saying, it was as though they didn't have to. In some ways he was a lot like her brother- shy, gentle and quiet, harmless, but he was also very warm and affectionate, not like Shinji or even her father. He felt… Safe. He was a very safe person to be around, she felt. He felt like a brother and a father all at the same time, except he -wasn't-, and she really didn't know how to describe that.
[16:10] * Ayanami‘Rei glanced up at the mirror, blinking in surprise at the light hint of colour surfacing in her cheeks. It confused her a little- enough to make her look at the photo again.
[16:25] <Ayanami`Rei> "Meimei." Yanmei. The coolest big sister anyone could ever have. She was more than just a friend- to Rei she was everything Rei had wanted to grow up to be. She was very pretty, and very brave. She didn’t think twice about fighting bad things, whether they were wolves, or giant monsters… She was always friendly, too. No wonder Zaizai liked her so much!
[16:25] <Ayanami‘Rei> … But why had she hit her hand away? Rei was confused.
[16:26] <Ayanami`Rei> ’You can't have him.' What did that mean? Rei had wanted to help… She had wanted to see them both again, too. Was happy to see them again. Did she do something wrong? Rei put the photograph back down.
[16:27] <Ayanami‘Rei> It was probably because she’d kicked Sera. Yes, that seemed like a good explanation…
[16:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> She would have to apologise.-
[16:30] * Ayanami`Rei turned around. Headed back out into the living room, where her mother was busy focusing on dinner… Focusing -very- hard, not that Rei noticed that fact. "Mother?"
[16:30] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Yes, sweetheart?"-
[16:30] <Ayanami`Rei> "Is Onii-chan here?"-
[16:31] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Yes, he’s still in his room." Said Yui happily, but she paled at the mention and averted her eyes.
[16:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Thank you." She turned and headed for Shinji’s room, sliding the door open. "Onii-chan."-
[16:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Shinji had been kneeling down, neatly packing clothes into a suitcase. The moment Rei spoke he froze, and turned around. His face… Just hearing those words brought a good deal of pain to him.-
[16:33] <Ayanami`Rei> ["… Hello." He said quietly.]
[16:34] <Ayanami`Rei> "I am home, Onii-chan." Said Rei. Her beloved big brother. Quiet and gentle and shy, just like Zaizai… So lovable. So easy to tease, too! So much fun. But he would always forgive her and help her. He would always love her because he was her big brother.
[16:34] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…" Shinji looked away again, back over to the suitcase. He trembled once. "I see."]
[16:35] * Ayanami`Rei felt… Confused by the reaction. It wasn’t what she expected. She expected… Something else. Hugs? Yes. She expected her brother to treat her with affection… "Are you going somewhere, Onii-chan?"
[16:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Aline doesn’t want to stay here anymore." Said Shinji. "I don't either, so I'll be staying at a hotel for awhile."]
[16:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" So her brother was moving out? A strange feeling stirred in Rei’s heart. She stepped into the room and knelt beside him. "I can help you pack."
[16:38] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["No, I- I don’t need help." Said Shinji shortly. "I can pack myself. Please… Just let me pack."]
[16:39] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Yes, Onii-chan." Said Rei quietly. She knelt next to him still, watching his hands move. She wanted to hug him… Placed a hand on his shoulder.
[16:40] <Ayanami`Rei> ["D-Don’t touch me." Said Shinji shakily, trembling madly.]
[16:40] * Ayanami‘Rei pulled her hand back.-
[16:41] <Ayanami`Rei> She… Continued to watch. And watch. Was her brother angry at her? What had she done? It confused and hurt her. Yes, that’s what it was. This hurt…
[16:41] * Ayanami‘Rei stood up. She left the room, went to her mother. "Mother."
[16:42] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Yes, sweetie?"-
[16:42] <Ayanami`Rei> "May I go out?"
[16:42] <Ayanami`Rei> [The request took Yui by complete surprise. She stared at Rei. "Go… Out?"-
[16:42] <Ayanami`Rei> "Yes. I wish to go out."
[16:43] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Um…" Yui bit her lip. Panic. Her little girl… Out by herself? She could die! Kidnapped… Even with S2… They’d failed her before. "I'm… Um."-
[16:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I will be fine."
[16:47] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I-I know, it’s just…" Yui hesitated. She walked over to her daughter, putting a cellphone into her hands, embracing her tight. "-Please- be careful."]
[16:49] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I will be fine." Repeated Rei. She could take care of herself… She somehow knew that now. It was… Not a form of bravery, but more certainty. Fighting maneuvers flashed through her mind that she never remembered learning, her muscles twitching in memory at them. She slowly reached out and embraced her mother in return.
[16:49] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Please be home before seven, alright?"-
[16:49] <Ayanami`Rei> "Yes, mother. Mother, do you know where Zaizai and Meimei are staying?"
[16:51] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…" Yui nodded, cautiously. Wrote it down on a piece of paper, gave it to Rei. "Here you go. Um… Please be careful."-
[16:51] <Ayanami`Rei> "I will be fine, mother." Stressed Rei again. She turned and headed for the door… And out onto the street.
[16:53] <Ayanami`Rei> [It was… 11 AM? It was early. She had plenty of time.-
[16:54] * Ayanami`Rei started to walk down the street. She knew the first place she would go. The home of her best friend at school, Minamoto Hanako.-
[16:57] <Ayanami`Rei> It was a nice house. White walls, a red door. She knocked.
[16:57] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Yes?" Hanako’s mother opened, blinking at Rei curiously.-
[16:58] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Minamoto-san." Rei bowed. "Is Hana-chan at home?"-
[16:58] <Ayanami`Rei> [Miss Minamoto became suspicious. "She is… Do you know her?"-
[16:58] <Ayanami`Rei> "I am a friend of her’s from school." Rei frowned slightly. Miss Minamoto… Didn't recognise her? I've grown… She thought to herself.
[17:00] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ah…" Minamoto nodded, and slipped inside. A little while later a little girl came to the door, with black hair and a curious expression. "Um. Hello?"-
[17:00] <Ayanami`Rei> "Hana-chan." Said Rei, kneeling down to look her in the eye. Hanako looked away like a puppy shying from danger. Rei… Was confused. "It’s me."
[17:01] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I don’t know who you are, sorry."]
[17:01] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" Rei blinked. "It’s me. Ikari Rei…"
[17:01] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Hanako frowned angrily. "T-That’s not funny. R-Rei was my friend."]
[17:01] <Ayanami‘Rei> "It really is me." Protested Rei. "I’ve grown."
[17:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["M-mum!" Said Hanako, eyes suddenly bubbling in her eyes. "Mum! Th-this girl…"-
[17:05] <Ayanami`Rei> ["What? What did you do?" Said Miss Minamoto, glowering at Rei. "What did she do, Hana?"-
[17:08] <Ayanami`Rei> ["S-She says she’s Rei…" Hanako burst into tears.-
[17:09] * Ayanami‘Rei was… Confused and had no idea what was going on. She looked up at Miss Minamoto. "I am Ikari Rei. I’ve grown."
[17:09] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["… You’re a sick person. Get out of here!" Shouted Miss Minamoto. The woman reached for a broom that was propped against the wall.
[17:12] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" Rei stood up. She turned around and left.
[17:13] <Ayanami`Rei> Didn’t her mother once say that sometimes, friends… Grew apart as they grew up? Yes, this was a natural thing. But it confused and hurt Rei.-
[17:16] <Ayanami‘Rei> She didn’t want to go home. She wanted… To go and see Zaizai and Meimei, who were nice people. She'd go into the city.-
[17:17] * Ayanami‘Rei walked to the nearest subway, taking a train in. Despite the crowdedness, people seemed unwilling to sit next to her, or even stand near her. It confused her…-
[17:19] <Ayanami`Rei> She wanted to impress Meimei, so she went to a mall on the way. Tried to buy a delicious-looking black chocolate cake.-
[17:22] <Ayanami`Rei> The shopkeeper… Seemed hesitant to serve her. Couldn’t look her in the face. Mumbled as he took her money, and seemed relieved when she left.
[17:23] * Ayanami‘Rei felt confused and… A little ashamed as she got back onto the train. She held her chocolate cake on her lap demurely in its box.-
[17:23] <Ayanami`Rei> When the train stopped at its next destination, Rei carefully stood up. Stepped out onto the platform and started heading for a specific place: A hotel. -The- hotel, where Zaizai and Meimei were. It was easy to figure out which room.-
[17:23] * Ayanami`Rei stood before the door. And… Knocked. Three times.
[17:26] <@Yanmei> The door opened. There was someone standing there in a long, simple green dress, one that contrasted prettily with violet hair. "Who is-~" She stopped in mid-sentence, her mouth still slightly ajar.
[17:26] <Ayanami`Rei> "Meimei." Said Rei, smiling a little. She held up her box. "Meimei, I brought you a cake."
[17:29] <@Yanmei> "Cake." Yanmei echoed. She stared down at the box as if unsure what to think at first. Her face started to tighten bit by bit.
[17:30] <Ayanami`Rei> "I’ve grown, Meimei." Said Rei automatically. She offered the box forward. "I am sorry for kicking Sera. Please forgive me."
[17:32] <@Yanmei> "You kicked Sera?" Her expression loosened up a little, now there was plain confusion there.
[17:35] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" If it wasn’t for the kick, then…? Her eyes drifted left, then right, then back to Yanmei. "… I am sorry for not having any clothes. I have clothes now."
[17:36] <@Yanmei> "…go home." Yanmei was looking away now, her voice very controlled. She wasn't going to yell at or hit her in plain view of anyone who happened to be passing by.
[17:38] <Ayanami‘Rei> "…" Rei blinked. She was confused… And hurt. Again. Hurting… "Meimei. I want to see Zaizai." Said Rei, a subtle pleading tone in her voice.
[17:39] <@Yanmei> "…" Yanmei still kept her eyes averted. "He doesn’t…"
[17:41] * Ayanami‘Rei simply stared, a hint of sadness, a hint of hope in her red eyes.
[17:46] <@Yanmei> "This isn’t a good time," Yanmei frowned, struggling with both her temper and an explanation. "He's… hurting. Please go home."
[17:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Is he alright?" Said Rei, worry crossing her face. "Zaizai… I want to help…"
[17:48] <@Yanmei> "You’re the reason he's-!" She stepped forward, glowering, and then stopped herself. "No. Please go home."
[17:49] <Ayanami‘Rei> Her eyes widened for just a second. "I…? What did I do…?"
[17:51] <@Yanmei> "It’s because you exist." Were her parents so stupid that they hadn't warned her about this? Did they let her come here, or did she sneak off on her own? "You're not Ikari Rei. You just have her face and her memories."
[17:52] <Ayanami‘Rei> "No…" Said Rei. "I’ve… Grown…" The girl was finding it hard to speak, and she stared down at the cake box as if hoping, if Yanmei took it, everything would be ok.
[17:53] * @Yanmei took a step backward. "I am closing the door now. Please go home." Again, that controlled tone, but it sounded… weary, too.
[17:54] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Zaizai. Please let me see him." Said Rei, looking up again.
[17:54] <@Yanmei> The door swept closed.
[17:57] <Ayanami`Rei> "…" Rei reached out. Put her hand on the door and knocked again.
[17:58] <@Yanmei> Yanmei, at least, did not open it again.
[18:02] * Ayanami`Rei stared at the door. Just… Stared, frozen. She opened her mouth to speak again… Nothing came out. She dropped the cake, the box landing and twisting against the impact. "Z… ai…"
[18:03] <Ayanami`Rei> "…"
[18:03] * Ayanami`Rei turned. And started to walk away. When she reached the elevator, she turned to stare at the door…
[18:04] <Ayanami`Rei> … No Zaizai. No Meimei waved goodbye. And now she knew why.-
[18:04] <Ayanami`Rei> A few hours later, she returned… To the Ikari household. She returned to the room. The room with the small bed and the small clothes.-
[18:04] <Ayanami`Rei> Rei lay down on the futon- the futon that was small, not because she’d grown, but because it'd been made for someone else.
[18:05] <Ayanami‘Rei> She didn’t make a noise, but she wept.
[18:08] <@Yanmei> The small kitchen included with the hotel suite. In the meantime, Zhang Yanmei found herself sitting there, staring into a glass of wine. The knocks had faded, at least, but she was still in a bad mood.
[18:08] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Isaiah was standing at the stove, stirring something. "Who was that?"]
[18:10] <@Yanmei> "…" Yanmei clenched her glass a little harder. "A Mass-Production Pilot. The prototype."
[18:11] <Ayanami`Rei> [Isaiah froze, turning to look back at her. He… Had the locket in his hand. He’d been looking at it a lot recently- the locket that held a picture of Yanmei and Rei within. He tucked it hurriedly back below his collar. "A-Ah."]
[18:13] <@Yanmei> "…" Yanmei watched the motion oddly, as if she wasn't sure what to think of it. "I sent her home," she added. "You can probably guess why she was here?"
[18:15] <Ayanami`Rei> ["She wanted to see me."]
[18:15] <@Yanmei> "Yes."
[18:17] <Ayanami`Rei> [He turned back quietly to his stove, and continued to stir, more to hide his shaking hands than anything else.]
[18:18] * @Yanmei watched him for a second or two, and then drained the rest of her glass and placed it on the tabletop, empty. Fucking Ikaris…

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License